The Best Cushioned Running Shoes

For the summer of 2017 we saw some great updates on staple shoes and the addition of three brand new shoes from Mizuno, Brooks and Skechers. The shoe with most notable changes this season was our second ranked shoe, the Hoka One One Clifton 4. Hoka One One completely redesigned both the upper and midsole for it’s fourth iteration, however it still wasn’t enough to claim the Best In Class. The top spot went to the Brooks Glycerin 15, which was by far, the smoothest cushioned ride of all the shoes tested. All our testers raved about how comfortable and responsive the Glycerin 15 was.

Interested in joining our running shoe test team? Email us at recruiting@gearinstitute.com.

Review Year
Best in Class
Overall Rating
Price
Name Overall Rating Ratings The Good The Bad Price
Brooks Glycerin 15
93
Best in Class
2017
Comfort 10
Fit 9
Responsiveness 8
Speed 6
Ride Quality 10

Plush comfort underfoot

Incredibly soft & smooth ride

Cushioning never sacrifices responsiveness

Lacks support

Steep heel drop (10mm)

MSRP
$150.00
BEST DEAL
$149.95
Brooks Ghost 9
92
Best in Class
2016
Comfort 9
Fit 9
Responsiveness 8
Speed 7
Ride Quality 9

Fantastic value

Updated upper drastically improves comfort

Durable

Improved flexibility for better toe off

Increased weight from Ghost 8

Steep (12mm) heel drop may cause issues for forefoot strikers

MSRP
$120.00
BEST DEAL
$71.83
Nike Zoom Vomero 12
92
Best in Class
2017
Comfort 8
Fit 8
Responsiveness 9
Speed 8
Ride Quality 9

Comfortable fit throughout the entire shoe

Updated outsole

Responsive

Upper lacks ventilation

Flywire Cable doesn’t give security while pivoting

Seam in forefoot is uncomfortable

MSRP
$140.00
BEST DEAL
$119.95
Adidas Supernova
91
Comfort 8
Fit 8
Responsiveness 8
Speed 8
Ride Quality 9

Extremely responsive

Lasting midsole cushioning

Durable & grippy outsole

Quick for weight class

Difficult lacing structure

Stiff overlays

Heavy upper lacks ventilation

MSRP
$129.99
BEST DEAL
$62.96
Saucony Ride 9
90
Comfort 8
Fit 9
Responsiveness 8
Speed 7
Ride Quality 8

Competitive price point

Lightest in category

Extremely responsive

Lighter, more comfortable upper

Reduced padding around the heel collar vs Ride 8

Little arch support

MSRP
$120.00
BEST DEAL
$59.83
Hoka One One Vanquish 2
89
Best in Class
2016
Comfort 9
Fit 5
Responsiveness 9
Speed 7
Ride Quality 9

Highly cushioned

Extremely lightweight

Soft yet springy midsole

Responsive

Pricey

Narrow fit

Stiff feeling upper

Lacks breathability

MSRP
$170.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Saucony Hurricane ISO2
88
Comfort 8
Fit 7
Responsiveness 8
Speed 7
Ride Quality 8

Cushioned and supportive

Excellent energy return

Well padded & extremely comfortable

Lacing system feels awkward

Heavy overall weight

Sizes small

MSRP
$160.00
BEST DEAL
$79.83
Brooks Glycerin 14
88
Comfort 8
Fit 7
Responsiveness 8
Speed 7
Ride Quality 8

Great flexibility for toe off

Comfortable

Cushioned but not bulky

Pricy

Under heel foam felt mushy

Midsole firmness breaks down quickly

MSRP
$160.00
BEST DEAL
$104.73
Brooks Ravenna 8
88
Comfort 8
Fit 6
Responsiveness 7
Speed 8
Ride Quality 9

Lightweight

Responsive

Mild support without sacrificing performance

Speedy

Excess room in toe box

Narrow fit

Heel slippage

Long break-in period

MSRP
$120.00
BEST DEAL
$71.95
Hoka One One Clifton 4
88
Comfort 9
Fit 7
Responsiveness 7
Speed 7
Ride Quality 8

Better fitting, softer upper

Midsole more durable than predecessor

Extremely light

Exceptional value for the price

Narrow toebox

Firm ride for lighter runners

Slight signs of wear on outsole

MSRP
$130.00
BEST DEAL
$129.95
Mizuno Wave Rider 19
87
Comfort 5
Fit 7
Responsiveness 9
Speed 9
Ride Quality 7

Extremely lightweight

Better fit over Wave Rider 18

Responsive and ready to rip

Quite stiff

Lacks all day comfort

Very firm ride

MSRP
$119.99
BEST DEAL
$59.95
Adidas Ultra Boost ST
86
Comfort 9
Fit 6
Responsiveness 7
Speed 6
Ride Quality 8

Over-the-top comfort

Rock solid durability

Excellent shock absorption

Excessively pricey

Very heavy

Fits a bit big

MSRP
$180.00
BEST DEAL
$159.95
Adidas Supernova Sequence 9
86
Comfort 8
Fit 5
Responsiveness 8
Speed 7
Ride Quality 8

Snappy & responsive

Boost midsole is durable

Outsole excels in any terrain

Supportive yet offers good flexibility

Sizes large

Upper quickly shows signs of wear

Bulky feel

MSRP
$130.00
BEST DEAL
$84.47
ASICS GEL-Kayano 23
86
Comfort 8
Fit 7
Responsiveness 7
Speed 6
Ride Quality 8

Exceptional durability

Provides excellent support

New midsole offers better cushioning at a lighter weight

Narrow fitting upper

Steep price point

Break-in period needed

MSRP
$160.00
BEST DEAL
$87.97
Saucony Triumph ISO 3
86
Comfort 9
Fit 8
Responsiveness 6
Speed 6
Ride Quality 7

Loads of cushioning

Form-fitting upper

Over-the-top comfortable

Soft midsole reduces responsiveness

Bulky

Lacks snappiness

MSRP
$150.00
BEST DEAL
$104.73
Asics GEL-Cumulus 19
86
Comfort 7
Fit 8
Responsiveness 7
Speed 6
Ride Quality 8

Redesigned upper free of heavy overlays

Comfortable ankle collar

Mild support for neutral shoe

Needs some break-in time

Not suitable for forefoot strikers

MSRP
N/A
BEST DEAL
$89.93
Nike LunarGlide 8
85
Comfort 8
Fit 7
Responsiveness 6
Speed 7
Ride Quality 7

Extremely comfortable

Lightweight

Excellent ride quality

Competitive price point

Lacks durability, outsole breaks down quickly

Debris gets stuck in treads

Excess room in heel cup

MSRP
$120.00
BEST DEAL
$99.95
Adidas UltraBOOST ST
85
Comfort 9
Fit 4
Responsiveness 7
Speed 6
Ride Quality 9

Plush cushioning underfoot

Midsole and outsole durability

Superior traction in wet conditions

Mild stability doesn’t affect ride quality

Steep price point

Excessively roomy upper

Lacks responsiveness

Heavy

MSRP
$200.00
BEST DEAL
$132.96
Hoka One One Clifton 3
84
Comfort 8
Fit 7
Responsiveness 5
Speed 6
Ride Quality 8

Updated upper offers much better fit

Lightweight for so much cushioning

Durable midsole and outsole

Large size feels bulky

Lacked responsiveness

Mushy feeling EVA foam

MSRP
$130.00
BEST DEAL
$64.98
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080
83
Comfort 8
Fit 8
Responsiveness 6
Speed 5
Ride Quality 6

Excellent support

Extremely secure fitting upper

Comfortable

Feels bulky and sluggish

Very little energy return

One of the slowest shoes tested

MSRP
$149.99
BEST DEAL
$104.73
Skechers GOrun Forza
83
Comfort 8
Fit 8
Responsiveness 5
Speed 5
Ride Quality 7

Excellent cushioning & shock absorption

Smooth transition

Superb stability

Feels a bit bulky

Canted midsole which favors pronation feels odd

Questionable durability

MSRP
$120.00
BEST DEAL
$71.96
Saucony Guide 10
82
Comfort 8
Fit 5
Responsiveness 6
Speed 6
Ride Quality 7

Excellent price point for stability shoe

Comfortable upper

Lightweight

Sizes narrow

Rocks stick to outsole

MSRP
$120.00
BEST DEAL
$59.83
Brooks Revel
82
Comfort 8
Fit 7
Responsiveness 6
Speed 5
Ride Quality 6

Fantastic price point

Responsive

Great fit

Steep heel drop

Firm cushioning

Narrow fit

MSRP
$100.00
BEST DEAL
$99.95
New Balance Vongo 2
82
Comfort 9
Fit 9
Responsiveness 5
Speed 4
Ride Quality 5

Redesigned upper removes heavy overlays

Perfect sock-like fit

Thick durable midsole

4mm drop poor for heel strikers and beginners

Lacks smooth transition

Advertised as stability shoe but doesn’t offer muc

MSRP
$135.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
Hoka One One Bondi 5
81
Comfort 8
Fit 7
Responsiveness 5
Speed 4
Ride Quality 7

Exceptionally comfortable

Newly designed upper

Increased midsole/outsole durability

Bulky

Slow and unresponsive

MSRP
$150.00
BEST DEAL
$149.95
Mizuno Wave Sky
81
Comfort 7
Fit 6
Responsiveness 6
Speed 5
Ride Quality 7

Durable

Insole softens ride

Offers mild stability

Needs to be broken in over time

Upper heavy in overlays

Heavy

MSRP
$149.00
BEST DEAL
$149.95
Under Armor Bandit 2
80
Comfort 7
Fit 6
Responsiveness 5
Speed 7
Ride Quality 5

Most affordable shoe

Comfortable sock-like upper

Lightweight

Excess foot movement during run

Lacked responsive feel

Firm outsole

MSRP
$100.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
New Balance 860v7
80
Comfort 6
Fit 7
Responsiveness 7
Speed 5
Ride Quality 5

Flexible well fitting upper

Exceptional stability for overpronation

Durable midsole and outsole

Firm midsole offers little forgiveness

Heel orientated

MSRP
$124.99
BEST DEAL
N/A
Altra Paradigm 3.0
80
Comfort 9
Fit 6
Responsiveness 4
Speed 4
Ride Quality 7

Redesigned upper increases comfort

Soft, comfortable underfoot feeling

Durable midsole & outsole

Not suitable for heel strikers

Lacks heel stability

Heavy

MSRP
$130.00
BEST DEAL
$129.95
New Balance 1260v6
79
Comfort 7
Fit 6
Responsiveness 6
Speed 4
Ride Quality 6

Exceptional support and stability

Durable midsole

Comfortable upper

Rigid and stiff feeling

Sluggish due to heavy weight

Large for size

MSRP
$149.99
BEST DEAL
$134.95
Skechers GOrun Ultra R 2
77
Comfort 7
Fit 8
Responsiveness 2
Speed 5
Ride Quality 5

Good price point

Extremely lightweight

Largest amount of cushioning

Midsole rocker

Stiff upper

Mushy non-responsive ride

Not breathable

Lacks durability

MSRP
$115.00
BEST DEAL
$94.36
Brooks Transcend 3
76
Comfort 5
Fit 6
Responsiveness 5
Speed 4
Ride Quality 6

Excellent support with a solid foundation

Lasting durability makes it an excellent everyday trainer

Excellent motion control

Hefty price tag

Overly stiff and uncomfortable

Runs big

MSRP
$170.00
BEST DEAL
$84.73
Mizuno Wave Inspire 12
76
Comfort 6
Fit 7
Responsiveness 4
Speed 4
Ride Quality 5

Stable and very supportive

A workhorse and durable shoe

Excellent overpronation control

Stiff and uncomfortable

A bit narrow

Lacks feel and responsiveness

MSRP
$119.99
BEST DEAL
$94.95
Nike Air Zoom Odyssey 2
76
Comfort 7
Fit 6
Responsiveness 5
Speed 4
Ride Quality 4

Excellent support for moderate to severe overpronators

Good choice for heel strikers

Comfortable upper

Lacks durability

Less responsive compared to others

Very little forefoot cushioning

MSRP
$150.00
BEST DEAL
$97.47
Altra Paradigm 2.0
74
Comfort 7
Fit 5
Responsiveness 4
Speed 3
Ride Quality 5

Roomy toe box for wide feet

Very light

Suitable for heavier runners

Firm outsole reduces ride quality

Zero drop not for beginners

Midsole requires some use to soften up

MSRP
$130.99
BEST DEAL
$71.47
Zoot Laguna
73
Comfort 4
Fit 4
Responsiveness 5
Speed 5
Ride Quality 5

Lightweight makes a faster feeling shoe

Easy to get up on toes to push-off

Runs a bit narrow and small

Very little support and stability

Lacks forefoot cushioning

MSRP
$115.00
BEST DEAL
N/A
ASICS GEL-Quantum 360 CM
69
Comfort 4
Fit 3
Responsiveness 4
Speed 4
Ride Quality 4

Full midsole cushion

Seamless mesh upper

Durable outsole material

Extremely long and narrow fit

Heaviest shoe tested

Most expensive shoe in category

MSRP
$170.00
BEST DEAL
$129.95
Nike Zoom Vomero 12

Expect a much more responsive and enjoyable ride from the 12th edition of Nike’s cushioning neutral trainer, the Vomero. This is largely due to a newly designed outsole that features more cushioning while still maintaining a peppy responsive ride. Overall the Vomero 12 is a great preforming everyday trainer that offers superb cushioning.  

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Road Runner Sports

Brooks Glycerin 15

Of all shoes tested this season, the Glycerin 15 stands out as “one of the most enjoyable comfort rides,“ and excels in just about every category. It offers unmatched comfort, fits like a glove, and protects from the hardest impacts while maintaining responsiveness. Compared to other shoes tested the Glycerin 15 has a steeper heel drop at 10mm but it doesn’t feel cumbersome or reduce the overall ride quality.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Road Runner Sports

Hoka One One Clifton 4

Each go-around, Hoka One One modifies the Clifton series making it a slightly better shoe and this year is no different. Noticeable changes to the upper and midsole make the Clifton 4 a more comfortable and responsive shoe. The soft mushy underfoot feeling is replaced by a firmer, better performing midsole. While the upper is more comfortable and pliable than its predecessor, testers still wished there was more width and room around the midfoot.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Backcountry.com

Asics GEL-Cumulus 19

The Asics GEL-Cumulus is a moderate level cushioning everyday trainer that is more performance oriented than other shoes tested due to a responsive midsole and lower stack height. The GEL–Cumulus is a perfect one-shoe quiver for beginner to intermediate runners who tend to land towards the rear of the foot.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at REI.com

Adidas UltraBOOST ST

The Adidas UltraBOOST ST is a perfect comfort shoe for runs when performance, speed and responsiveness are not a priority. Built with mild stability, the UltraBOOST ST hands down offers one of the softest rides of all the shoes tested this season, but at the cost of performance. Retailing at $200 the UltraBOOST ST is by far the priciest shoe of the test.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Backcountry.com

New Balance Vongo 2

The New Balance Vongo 2 is one the most comfortable and well-fitting shoes tested but fell short when it comes to performance. Advertised as a stability shoe, the Vongo 2 certainly doesn’t offer much in the way of stability. A 4mm heel drop, which is more typical of lightweight and racing shoes, limits this model to forefoot strikers and more experienced runners.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at

Brooks Revel

An all new neutral everyday trainer to the Brook’s line-up, the Revel, is a stiff, unforgiving shoe favoring a more experienced runner whose legs won’t buckle from ground impact and doesn’t like a soft, mushy midsole. Highlighted by a super comfortable upper and clean lines, the Revel has the steepest heel drop of all the shoes tested and fits on the narrow side, however, retailing at $100 it’s the most affordable shoe in our line-up.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Road Runner Sports

Mizuno Wave Sky

The Mizuno Wave Sky is a solid and durable trainer perfect for those who favor more of a heel strike. Initially rigid, the Wave Sky sweetens up over time and maintains a consistent firm ride with plenty of protection, even for the heaviest of runners. Two areas of concern in the upper are the rather narrow fit through the midfoot and use of heavy overlays.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Road Runner Sports

Altra Paradigm 3.0

Compared to all the other shoes tested, the Paradigm 3.0 is a great option for runners who want to experiment with zero drop and the Altra brand. The shoe was soft, very comfortable, and offered a forgiving ride for first-time zero drop runners due to the large amount of cushioning. However, several testers found the length to feel a bit short.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at CampSaver.com

Skechers GOrun Ultra R 2

Considering the Skechers GOrun Ultra R 2 is in its first generation, Skechers did a nice job introducing a super-light, maximum cushioning trainer to its lineup. The GOrun Ultra R 2 was by far the lightest maximum cushioning shoe of the test and perhaps on the market as a whole, but it lacked the performance seen in other running shoes such as the Hoka One One Clifton 4 or Altra Paradigm 3.0. Our testers described the ride as too soft, impacting its ability to feel responsive and speedy.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at CampSaver.com

Adidas Supernova

The Adidas Supernova covers all the bases: an endless supply of energy-returning cushioning and a responsive fun-to-run-in ride at an excellent value. The Supernova proves itself as a great option for a wide array of runners, offering exceptional cushioning without sacrificing performance though breathability could be improved.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Backcountry.com

Brooks Ravenna 8

The Brooks Ravenna 8 is hands down the winner for best performing daily trainer with support. Offering mild support from overpronation, the Ravenna 8 feels more like a neutral running shoe, which is why it out-performed all the other supportive shoes tested this season. The Brooks Ravenna 8 is a comfortable, responsive and reliable daily trainer with the peculiar combination of a narrow fit and an overly roomy toe box.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at Competitive Cyclist

Saucony Triumph ISO 3

The Saucony Triumph ISO 3 is a top pick for those wanting soft cushioning for cranking out lots of miles. Saucony improved the upper from the previous version, making it softer and more flexible. Nevertheless, it still feels bulky to wear.

Read the Full Review Shop Now at REI.com

Saucony Guide 10

Classified as a stability shoe, the Saucony Guide 10 runs more like a hybrid of neutral cushioning with supportive stability. Offering a much softer ride than other stability shoes, the Guide 10 outperforms the other stability shoes in just about every category making it a great option for those needing mild support while still maintaining great overall performance. 

Read the Full Review Shop Now at REI.com

See All Cushioned Running Shoes Reviews

Comfort Road Running Shoe Review Results

by: Last Updated:

Comfort 

This season’s test saw high scores all-around in the area of comfort. While all shoes tested received a score of 7 or above, there were four shoes (Altra Paradigm 3.0, New Balance Vongo 2, Adidas UltraBOOST ST, and Hoka One One Clifton 4) that just missed receiving a perfect score in the comfort category, all scoring a 9 out of 10. However it wasn’t enough to top our Best In Class shoe, the Brooks Glycerin 15, which did score a perfect 10 out 10 in comfort thanks to its soft, flexible upper and plush cushioning underfoot. The bottom spots went too the Sketchers GOrun Ultra R 2, Mizuno Wave Sky, and Asics GEL-Cumulus 19 mostly due to rather stiffer uppers that reduced overall comfort.

Fit

Fit can be somewhat subjective, so to keep things consistent we look at what the majority of our testers noted regarding how each shoe felt on the foot. The best fitting shoes, as noted by our testers, were the New Balance Vongo 2 and Brooks Glycerin 15, both of which scored a 9 out of 10. The New Balance Vongo 2 pleased all our testers with its soft form fitting upper that seemed to wrap the foot perfectly while accommodating a wide range of widths. Another top fitting shoe was the Brooks Glycerin 15, which offered a well-fitting soft upper designed with a smooth syncing lacing system.  Two shoes, the Altra Paradigm 3.0 and Mizuno Wave Sky both scored a 6 out of 10 coming in on the bottom of the fit category. While both shoes may fit some perfectly, most of our testers noted either the toe box was too narrow or too short.

Responsiveness 

Finding the perfect balance between feeling too soft and too firm can be a tricky task for shoes designed primarily for comfort. However, Brooks does an excellent job of assuring the Glycerin 15 is both soft and responsive. The Glycerin 15 scored an 8 out of 10 in responsiveness due to the midsole’s ability to pop with each ground strike while giving the runner an energized feeling. The Sketchers GOrun Ultra R 2 lands as the least responsive shoe, scoring only a 2 out of 10. Testers found the midsole on the GOrun Ultra R 2 to be way too soft, sapping the majority of energy needed to score high.

Speed

While speed isn’t a top priority in shoes fitted for comfort, it’s always nice to know you can pick up the pace without your footwear holding you back. Out of all the mini-categories, the average score among all the shoes tested was lowest in the speed category with most scoring between 4 and 5. The fastest shoe tested belonged to the fully redesigned Hoka One One 4. The combination of the firmer, more responsive midsole with light overall weight, fostered a shoe that was both comfortable and capable of moving fast when needed. The slowest shoe of the test was the Altra Paradigm 3.0, whose thick, soft midsole and heavier weight made it better suited for slower runs.

Ride Quality 

While everyone’s ideal ride will vary, there are certain aspects of how a shoe runs that give the shoe a smooth riding quality. The best running shoes will have a smooth, even feel underfoot, making a seamless transition from footstike to takeoff, regardless of where your foot hits the ground. Scores were all over the board, ranging from a perfect 10 to 5. The Brooks Glycerin 15 by far offered the smoothest ride of the bunch due to the cushy Super DNA midsole and the horizontal flex groves along the outsole.

Conclusion 

Overall, summer 2017 was more exciting then the fall 2016 release, bringing a solid lineup of brand new and updated shoes to the market.  Three brand-new shoes were introduced from Sketchers, Mizuno, and Brooks; the Hoka One One Clifton 4 got a total revamp and classics such as the Brooks Glycerin 15 and Asic GEL-Cumulus received minor updates.  It’s interesting to see three brand-new shoes being introduced in one season from companies that already have a solid lineup of quality cushioned running shoes.  It will be interesting to see how current Hoka One One Clifton enthusiasts welcome the much firmer Clifton 4. Will they embrace the change or look to other soft riding shoes to take its place? The new Skechers GOrun Ultra R 2 fits the void nicely in terms of  ultra-soft cushioning, however Sketchers will need to work on making the midsole much more responsive to have a chance of filling that void. Other observations were that uppers are getting increasingly lighter and more comfortable. Heavy overlays are a thing of the past, as wearers want a soft, flexible material for their feet.

Test Methods

Testing protocol for road running shoes involves an extensive hands-on process across multiple testers over a period of at least two months. Each tester is an avid runner, running over 30 miles per week over varying terrain including but not limited to concrete, asphalt, grass, track, and dirt. The testing team is structured with a team lead and several wear testers.  All testers receive samples of each shoe to be worn over a period of at least two months. Techniques such as: run one mile in one, then switch to another shoe are used to compare the subtleties of each shoe. Each tester records his or her overall impressions of each shoe and details relating to comfort, fit, responsiveness, speed, and ride quality.  The team lead then collects the reports from the wear testers to generate the final reviews.

To help simplify the shoe buying process Gear Institute divides road shoe tests between two categories: Cushioned Road Shoes and Lightweight Road Shoes. Cushioned shoes are designed primarily for shock absorption and comfort. They tend to have thicker midsoles and are heavier, which makes them slower and less efficient then their lightweight counterparts, but they are mostly more comfortable and durable too. Shoes weighing 10 ounces (men) and 8 ounces (women) and/or have stack heights (the total height of material between the ground and your heel and toes) of 20mm or more under the heel are placed in the cushioned category for testing.

While it’s not necessary to know the entire anatomy of a running shoe, it is helpful to understand a few key parts of the shoe. The two most predominate parts of a running shoe are the midsole and the upper. The midsole, which makes up the majority of material between your foot and the ground is usually made of either a ethyl vinyl acetate (know as EVA) or a polyurethane foam compound. Every company’s midsole is unique and can vary greatly from super soft to downright hard.  The marker of a well made midsole isn’t how firm or soft the foam feels, that’s more of a matter of personal preference, but how the midsole absorbs energy as it strikes the ground and then is able to return that energy upward and forward. This energy give-and-take measures the responsiveness of a shoe. Typically softer midsoles will be less responsive then their firmer counterparts.

The upper encompasses almost everything above the midsole and is primarily designed to comfortably secure the shoe to your feet. A well-designed upper will be soft, breathable, and securely wrap the foot. One of the trends we saw during our test was the tendency to lighten up and reduce heavy overlays throughout the upper, enhancing both comfort and fit.

Each summer and winter when shoe companies release their latest models Gear Institute receives the top shoes and puts them through an extensive testing process.  A team of five male and female reviewers exhaustively test the shoes by running many miles over a variety of surfaces that includes concrete, asphalt, grass, dirt, and track. Each shoe is judged on five categories: Comfort, Fit, Responsiveness, Speed, and Ride Quality and given a score of 1 to 10, with 10 being perfect. The shoe with the highest cumulative score is then awarded Best In Class.